Walrus Begin Arriving Near Alaska Village

Pacific walrus are beginning to come ashore near a remote community on Alaska’s northwest coast in what’s become a marine mammal phenomenon caused by a warming climate.

The massive animals have gathered by the thousands each fall on a barrier island near the Inupiat Eskimo village of Point Lay. Last year, 35,000 hauled out on the rocky beach.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Andrea Medeiros says about 1,000 walrus are currently at the site. Medeiros says the village notified her agency Friday that the animals have begun arriving.

Walrus prefer resting on sea ice to look out for predators such as polar bears. But in 2007, they began coming ashore on the northwest Alaska coast because of receding summer sea ice as Arctic temperatures have warmed.